- 1 [no object] (Of a light or something that reflects light) shine in a bright but brief, sudden, or intermittent way: the lights started flashing (as adjective flashing) a police car with a flashing lightMore example sentences
- I looked up at the bright green neon sign flashing on and off, ‘Club Divine’ it read.
- A sudden burst of bright green light flashed behind the tree.
- The ship whisked into the night's sky, its bright lights flashing.
- 1.1 [with object] Cause to shine briefly or suddenly: the oncoming car flashed its lightsMore example sentences
- The driver was alerted to on-coming cars flashing their lights at him.
- The police car flashed his lights briefly at a car that touched 90 or so, but that was about it.
- The car behind me started flashing its lights, and turned on its siren.
- 1.2 [with object] Shine or show a light to send (a signal): red lights started to flash a warningMore example sentences
- The automobile in front of them flashed a warning signal of red to tell of slowing, and he eased up on the gas as he headed further into the dark city.
- They want to install a system which will flash a warning signal in the cab of the train if it passes through a red light.
- He lit the lamp he carried, and flashed an agreed signal to the other three men waiting in one of the canoes a short distance away.
- 1.3 [with object] Give (a swift or sudden look): Carrie flashed a glance in his direction [with two objects]: she flashed him a withering lookMore example sentences
- Brown flashed a knowing look into the gallery, and a few people, for want of a better word, tittered.
- He flashed a stern look towards the nurse.
- I flashed a look of gratitude at Noelle, and she nodded coolly.
- 1.4Express a sudden burst of emotion, especially anger, with a swift or sudden look: she glared at him, her eyes flashingMore example sentences
- ‘Jordan isn't going to make me miserable,’ Faith argued, her eyes flashing with anger.
- ‘Get the hell away from me Corey - right now’ Hailey said, her eyes flashing with anger.
- His eyes were flashing with anger, but they softened.
- 2 [with object] Display (an image, words, or information) suddenly on a television or computer screen or electronic sign, typically briefly or repeatedly: suddenly the screen flashes a messageMore example sentences
- As he crossed the finishing line his image was flashed up on the large screens.
- Your computer screen is flashing an unwelcome message.
- The giant white screen flashed images of people in the streets mourning Corrie's death.
- 2.1 [no object] (Of an image or message) be displayed briefly or repeatedly on a screen: the election results flashed on the screenMore example sentences
- I smiled and sat back watching as several images flashed across the screen, Matt still grunting in annoyance at not having found his desired station to watch.
- He raised a scowl as his image flashed across the big screen.
- A crackling image flashed onto the screen, lines of static and interference scrolled up and down the message.
- 2.2 • informal Hold up or show (something, often proof of one’s identity) quickly before replacing it: she opened her purse and flashed her ID cardMore example sentences
- Ralphie responded quickly as he flashed them his press card.
- Just then another passenger rose from his seat and flashed a small plastic card at the warring parties.
- Jonathan flashed his ID, and the guards motioned the car through.
- 2.3 • informal Make a conspicuous display of (something) so as to impress or attract attention: they all flash their money around
- 2.4 [no object] (often as noun flashing) • informal (Especially of a man) show one’s genitals briefly in public.More example sentences
- Believing a man had flashed at his girlfriend, he drove at him, jamming him against a wall.
- A mother has warned other residents to be on their guard after a man flashed her 12-year-old daughter.
- A bit later she was waving at me, and when I glanced over she flashed me again - and she'd taken her bra off!
- 3 [no object] Move or pass very quickly: a look of terror flashed across Kirov’s face the scenery flashed by another stray thought flashed through her mindMore example sentences
- Eventually, I became aware that the streetlights were not flashing by as quickly as they had been.
- The altimeter was counting down, the final couple of hundred feet flashing by too quickly.
- The time flashed by so quickly for the rest of the trip.
- 3.1 [with object] Send (news or information) swiftly by means of telegraphy or telecommunications: the story was flashed around the worldMore example sentences
- Images of the shooting - videotaped by TV crews covering the march - were flashed around the world.
- This news had earlier been flashed to the world via the BBC website.
- However, the whole incident was flashed around to other bases, telling everyone to behave themselves.
nounBack to top
- 1A sudden brief burst of bright light or a sudden glint from a reflective surface: the grenade exploded with a yellow flash of light a lightning flashMore example sentences
- At this a loud crash was heard behind them followed by a bright flash of lightning, lighting up the forest briefly.
- As she was strolling down the final row, a sudden flash of bright light caught her attention.
- Large flashes of light occasionally burst forth from the opening of a cave leading into the opposing mountain range.
- 2.1A sudden instance or manifestation of a quality, understanding, or humor: she had a flash of inspirationMore example sentences
burst, outburst, wave, rush, surge, flush
- His films, as a result, are often repulsive; yet they contain the occasional flash of genius that may redeem the more unpalatable aspects of his work.
- Paul is manic and edgy on stage, with the occasional flash of surreal genius.
- I won't say there was a sudden flash of insight but dimly I was becoming aware that there are lots of things to see if you take the time to look.
- 2.2A news flash.More example sentences
- When at last the news agency flash came of the Nazi capitulation on May 7, 1945, the Manchester Eveneing News was ready.
- I was in a of a press association this afternoon when the flash came in.
- 3 (Flash) Computing , • trademark A platform for producing and displaying animation and video in web browsers.More example sentences
- We still do a lot of personal research and development work with Flash and our websites are really popular.
- You'll need Flash and QuickTime to view all the extras buried in these online presentations.
- The same brains that created the Internet have clearly mastered Flash as well.
- 4A camera attachment that produces a brief very bright light, used for taking photographs in poor light: an electronic flash if in any doubt, use flash [as modifier]: flash photographyMore example sentences
- Pulling out her camera and attaching the flash, she climbs out of the car and moves past the barricade.
- The phone also is equipped with a camera featuring an attachable flash.
- He finds Gilbert, and they spot Keaton, who is using the flash on her digital camera as a flashlight.
- 5Excess plastic or metal forced between facing surfaces as two halves of a mold close up, forming a thin projection on the finished object.More example sentences
- A rotary file in an electric drill motor is the perfect tool for grinding off flash.
- The trailing edge smoothed out well and the excess plastic flash just fell off.
- Also, when trimming the plates from the sprues, make sure you trim the flash from the bottom of the recessed tab to let the courses sit level.
adjective• informal , chiefly British Back to top
- 1(Of a thing) ostentatiously expensive, elaborate, or up to date: a flash new carMore example sentences
- It is simply the case that in this world of convenience, flash holidays and big cars, working the land has lost its appeal.
- But the plan backfired when the driver couldn't get the flash car to start as they left the restaurant - leaving the couple at the mercy of the paparazzi.
- This means that in a high-consumption society such as ours, when I buy a flash car or suit, I throw down the gauntlet to others to do likewise.
- 1.1(Of a person) superficially attractive because stylish and full of brash charm: he was carrying this money around and trying to be flashMore example sentences
- They are big brash symbols of conspicuous consumption, a way for flash men and women with a lot of cash to flaunt their wealth.
- Nicky Cole is a flash geezer from the South, but Yates is a flash geezer from the North.
- It was a flash crowd, and soon our roofless concrete barn was packed with wet bodies, dancing under sheets of hard rain and the intermittent flashes of lightning.
- 2 • archaic Of or relating to thieves, prostitutes, or the underworld, especially their language.More example sentences
- This is the story of an extraordinary quest by two women - one the wife of a journalist, and the other a young girl who had been sold to a flash house when she was just 10 years old.
- Many British navy and army officers hated the 'flash language' used by convicts.
- Notwithstanding the editor's condescension toward these ‘second-rate’ men, he recognizes the opportunity flash language provided for disguised communication.
flash in the pan
- A thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable: our start to the season was just a flash in the pan[with allusion to the priming of a firearm, the flash arising from an explosion of gunpowder from the pan within the lock]More example sentences
- And his form so far this season has proved that his success last year was no flash in the pan.
- It is not a flash in the pan but something that's been maintained over a long period.
- Organising a music festival in India and battling the Indian bureaucracy was not exactly an easy affair for this group, but they seem confident about making this more than just a flash in the pan.
in (or like) a flash
- Very quickly; immediately: she was out of the back door in a flashMore example sentences
- I closed the door quickly and like a flash I was at the table filling my bag with the money once again.
- They will sit on your rear bumper until they get a little bit of a straight road and then they are past you like a flash.
- He was on to it like a flash, racing into the penalty area.
(as) quick as a flash
- (Especially of a person’s response or reaction) very quickly: quick as a flash, he was at her sideMore example sentences
- ‘You saved the best till last,’ replies the candidate, quick as a flash.
- As quick as a flash, his eyes darted to Stevie, and he said: ‘Does that mean we have to call you Gerry now?’
- She reveals she buys all her own clothes for work, ‘although I never pay full price,’ she adds, quick as a flash.
- (Of a person’s thoughts or mind) briefly and suddenly recall a previous time or incident: her thoughts immediately flashed back to last nightMore example sentences
- Suddenly my mind flashed back to a day eight months ago.
- My mind immediately flashed back to my dream, and I blushed again.
- My mind kept flashing back to what happened two weeks ago.
- Make an electric circuit by sparking across a gap.More example sentences
- The theory here is that the primer flashes over the small powder charge and causes it to detonate.
- An arc then flashes over between these electrodes 24 and 13, giving rise to ionization and pressurization.
- If the voltage is high enough, the insulator flashes over causing a short circuit of the system.
- (Of a fire) spread instantly across a gap because of intense heat.More example sentences
- Once the fire flashed over the side station, it quickly enveloped the deli restaurant, feeding on the combustible interior finishes and furnishings.
- At about 4 p.m., the fire ‘flashed over’ and the buildings erupted in a mass of flame, trapping some staff on upper floors.
- When the driver lifted the engine cover he provided the oxygen that was lacking and the fire ‘flashed over’ and spread quickly through the bus.
Entry from British & World English dictionary
Middle English (in the sense 'a marshy place'): from Old French flache, variant of Picard and Norman dialect flaque, from Middle Dutch vlacke. The current sense dates from the late 19th century.